I purchased one the those kits with the rotary level and tripod combination
thinking I could establish a level line around a room. The problem is the
tripod cannot be leveled vertically and horizontally even though the bubble
level build into the tripod indicated its right on dead center. The base of
the rotary laser level has adjustments to level itself but without the
tripod being level the rotary level is useless as it goes around the tripod
the two bubbles on the rotary base goes all over the map. Back to water and
a plastic tube - there is nothing more accurate than this for a cheap fix.
I have "one of those Chinese jobbers" and it's very accurate -- IF you
calibrate it. The instructions included steps on how to calibrate the
device. It's a pain, but once done, the level is accurate to about a
quarter inch over 30 feet, which is what the specs for the device say... I
can't get a water level even close to that level of accurace but it could be
It doesn't really mater if the tripod is level as long as the laser head is
level. But starting with a level tripod makes things a lot easier...
Water levels while easy to understand in principal, suffer from thermal
expansion effects if the water throughout ther length isn't kept at the
same temperature. Liquids expand a lot more than most solids do.
Water at around 75 F changes density about -150*10^-6 per degree F with
If you are using a simple water level made of clear tubing with the ends
raised about 6 feet above the lowest point of that tubing, and sunlight
heats one leg 10 F warmer than the other, there will be about an eight
of an inch of error. The water level in the warmer leg will be higher
than that in the other one.
Not much to worry about in most applications, but worth keeping in mind
if SWMBO absalutely positively wants those pictures of your grandkids
hung at exactly the same height. <G>
My newsreader evidently dropped this message, so I'll reply here.
I have a Zircon electric water level. It works just fine, but I'd never
rely on it to more than about 3/8" precision. Not sure if the tubing is too
narrow or what, but sometimes I can get the level, mark it, then shake the
tube, relevel, and I'll get a new mark, about 1/4" from the other one.
Close enough for most work, but still bugs me.
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